Snoring is caused by a narrowing of the airways leading to obstruction of the smooth passage of air in and out of the throat and creating the characteristic noise. Overweight and obesity increases the incidence of snoring. Whilst being disruptive to both the snorer and their family, snoring alone is not a serious health condition. However snoring can be a symptom of a potentially life-threatening condition called sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is where breathing is completely obstructed and the sleeper wakes many times a night to recommence breathing, but usually remembers nothing at all about these episodes. Up to 90% of people who have sleep apnoea may not even be aware that they have it! The sleep and oxygen deprivation it causes leads to many debilitating physical and mental health conditions.
If you are overweight, losing weight is often a very effective cure for mild to moderate snoring. Overweight individuals who lose weight can also reduce sleep apnoea and improve their quality of sleep. A 10% weight loss has been predicted to equate to a 26% decrease in the number of apnoea events per hour.
Joint Queen Elizabeth Hospital, CSIRO and Royal Adelaide Hospital KicStart™ study in sleep apnoea
A study using KicStart in patients with sleep apnoea, is currently being run jointly by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Respiratory Medicine Unit , CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition and the Royal Adelaide Hospital Respiratory Medicine Unit.
The study has been designed to compare the effect of weight loss alone, weight loss combined with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and CPAP treatment alone on obstructive sleep apnoea and patients' quality of life and sleepiness.